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National News

Trump Claims to Be

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Trump Claims to Be

2019-08-08 22:32:121 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

Despite there being talk of gun legislation with regard to additional background checks and a ban on assault rifles, nothing has ever been successfully passed in the Senate.

Trump was not one to universally support such measures either. One of the first things he did in office was to roll back a regulation put into place by former President Barack Obama. The measure made it more difficult for people with mental illness to purchase guns, but Trump rolled that back. 

Yet, he's often been big on background checks and has supported the measure since before he became president. He even met with teachers and students after the Parkland shooting talking up background checks. But just before the House passed legislation to require universal background checks, Trump vowed he would veto any legislation that passed Congress.

He's been all over the board with an assault weapons ban, the right to bear arms, and arming teachers. 

On Wednesday the president said he's "all in favor" of background checks but doesn't think there will be enough support to ban assault weapons.

"I'm looking to do background checks," he said. "I think background checks are important. I don't want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate. Sick people. I'm all in favor of it." 

With regard to a ban on high-powered weapons, however, he said, "You have to have a political appetite within Congress, and so far I haven't seen that."

"I think there's a great appetite to do something with regard to making sure mentally unstable, seriously ill people aren't carrying guns, and I've never seen the appetite as strong as it is now," Trump added. "I have not seen it with regards to certain types of weapons." 

He noted on Wednesday the obvious realization that Democrats and Republicans are "very different" on the issue of gun laws. He also said he'd encourage Congress to return early from their recess to address gun legislation, but only if they appeared to be close to a deal.

While Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) have both spoken to Trump about support for their bill that would expand background checks, it's unknown how many other Senate Republicans would get behind it. 

The House passed background check legislation earlier this year, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hasn't brought it to the floor for a vote yet.

Yet, Trump thinks he could get Republican senators to back the legislation. "I have a lot of influence with a lot of people, and I want to convince them to do the right thing," he said. "And I will tell you, we've made a lot of headway in the last three days. 

The president and some Republican senators back "red flag" laws that would make it easier for authorities to get a court order to confiscate weapons from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others.

While Trump has been all over the board with his support, the 2020 election is coming up soon. He needs to find a way to stroke the Second Amendment followers of his base while also appeasing more mainstream voters.  

It would be a huge risk to take a stand against gun control right now, especially with emotions high after the two shootings last weekend.

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